Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Settings for Romantic Suspense Books

Susan Sleeman here.

Have you ever found some romantic suspense books more suspenseful because of the setting of the book? I have. Maybe because I’m a writer, but the setting for a book helps me visualize dangerous situations.

I often set my books in the beautiful state of Oregon. My recent release, High-Stakes Inheritance is set in Logan Lake, Oregon, a fictitious town about an hour's drive from Portland.

I lived in the Portland area for many years and have to say Oregon is one of the most picturesque and beautiful areas of our country. But depending on the time of the year and the part of the state you are in, it can be eerie and my imagination runs wild.

Fall and winter washes away the sun and brings drizzly, foggy days, crunchy or soggy leaves at your feet, and short days with plenty of inky black nights. A perfect setting for suspense filled stories. Or maybe you live in a part of the country where rain pelts a window, the howl of a blizzard slides under the door, the thick humid air hangs like soup all around you. All very suspenseful settings to me.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think romantic suspense books have to have such settings to be wonderful. I absolutely love Stephanie Newton’s books all set in sunny Florida, find them to be suspenseful and can't put them down until I've read the entire book. But for some reason, less than ideal weather conditions seems to heighten the suspense for me.

This past summer I spent a few days at the beach in Seaside, Oregon. Take a look at these photos.
The first picture shows a glorious, sunny day at the beach

This second one a foggy, soupy day.

Which of these photos says suspense to you? Do you find settings in the books you read help you visualize the danger a character may face? Can you name some books you read recently where the setting helped cement the suspense and danger in your mind?


Project Journal said...

Hey Susan!
Oh man, the second photo definitely says suspense to me! Lol....does the first say suspense to anyone?? *wink*

I haven't been reading too much suspense lately unfortunately unless you count's taken me way too long to read Wicked since I've been adjusting to college life lol! I've also been reading Children of the Alley for my Religion class and am starting Conference of the Birds for my Desire class.

However I will be starting a new book soon because I only have 25 or less pages left in Wicked!! Woot, woot!!


Nice post : )

Susan Sleeman said...

You sound so busy, Hannah, I'm amazed you have time for personal reading.